New Students

Student living costs

When preparing a budget for starting University, it is important to understand what your expected costs will be and what you should have enough money to pay for.

Fixed living costs

Fixed living costs (regular payments) include:

  • internet charges
  • electricity and gas contracts
  • telephone bills
  • TV licence
  • insurance costs
  • potential council tax bills

These are regular costs relating to where you are living, typically incurring on a monthly basis.

Not all of the costs outlined below will be relevant for every student and these will vary depending on your preferences.

You can research most of these costs in advance and add them to a budget before arriving at your new home. 

Accommodation fees/rent (essential)

University accommodation

If living in University accommodation, you will have to pay accommodation fees.

Paying your University accommodation fees

Private accommodation

If you are living in private accommodation, the amount of rent you need to pay will vary. The cost of rent will not usually include any bills or utilities.

Often a landlord will request an additional month and a half rent value as an up-front deposit and therefore your initial cost when moving in could be very high.

The deposit will be returned if you meet the conditions of the property when leaving, and this deposit can then be used for your next rented property. 

Renting private accommodation 

Internet access (essential)


You can access wireless internet (eduroam) at all University campuses.

Internet access at the University of Edinburgh

University accommodation 

Internet access is included in the rent of most University of Edinburgh owned accommodation

IT facilities in University of Edinburgh owned accommodation

Private accommodation

If you rent privately you will normally need to set up internet access. The cost is not normally included in the rent.

Compare internet deals for students 

Gas and electricity bills (essential)

University accommodation

If you are in University of Edinburgh owned accommodation, the cost of heat and electricity will be included in your rent.

Private accommodation

If you rent privately, your electricity and gas can be supplied by a number of different companies. There is usually an existing agreement with a provider when you move in.

Check with the landlord who the provider is, and whether you can change supplier. You can often save money if you change.

Compare gas and electricity providers

Mobile telephones (essential)

Contract types

Contract A fixed monthly cost including phone calls, texts and internet access. Contracts usually last between 12 and 24 months.
Pay-as-you-go Pre-pay for phone calls, texts and internet access by buying credit. There is no contract so it can be a better option if you will be in the UK for less than a year.

Compare mobile phone deals for students

How to make cheap international calls

University accommodation

If you are in University of Edinburgh owned accommodation, you will have a pay-as-you-go landline telephone in your bedroom.

Private accommodation

If you rent privately you may wish to install a landline. Check with your landlord if there is already a landline installed and who is the service provider.

Contents insurance (optional) 

You may want to buy contents insurance for your home to protect your belongings in case of theft or damage. 

Comparison sites such as ComparetheMarket display different deals and prices to help you select the best supplier for your situation.

Compare contents insurance deals with ComparetheMarket

Council Tax (if relevant)

Council tax is a charge that is used to pay for local services such as rubbish collection, street cleaning, sewerage, water, police and schools. It is collected by the local authority.

If you are a full-time student you may be exempt from paying council tax, but you must remember to register.

How to register for council tax exemption

Digital TV (optional)

Television in the UK is digital, and includes many free channels.

Other services are available which allow you to watch more channels. You pay a monthly fee and normally agree to a 12-18 month contract. 

Check with your landlord or letting agency to make sure there are no restrictions if you want to install this type of service.

Compare TV package deals for students 

TV Licence

You need to buy an annual TV licence to watch or record live TV programmes on any channel, or download or watch programmes on BBC iPlayer, All4, Sky Go or YouTube on any TV or mobile device.

This also applies to students who live in University of Edinburgh-owned accommodation. 

How and when to buy a TV Licence for students

Variable living costs (irregular payments)

Food (essential)

Food costs vary depending on taste, diet, occasion and how much funding is available to spend on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. It is important that you have enough money after estimating your fixed costs for food.

If you are living in catered accommodation, you will still need to buy lunch.

Tips on saving money 


You may need to budget the costs of daily travel to get to your classes, and the costs will be dependent on how far you have to travel and how frequently.

There are many ways to get around the city of Edinburgh and we would recommend that you take a bit of time in advance of starting to work out if you need transport, how frequently and how much it would cost.

Please note that many public transport operators do offer student deals and also seasonal ticket discounts. 

University of Edinburgh campus maps

All options for getting around Edinburgh

Work out your bus public transport with Lothian Buses


It is important that you have some funding available to ensure you can do the things that make you happy.

These costs will vary depending on your interests, but we recommend that some money is set aside each month so that you can pursue your interests and explore new ones.

Sports clubs to join through the Sports Union 

Student Societies to join as part of the Edinburgh University Students' Association

Complete your essential top 6 tasks

Register your University Login and log in to MyEd

Get started on Office 365

Begin the matriculation process

Pay your fees and prepare your finances

Apply for your University Student card

Access your health services